Sri Lanka to offer free visas to tourists from 30 countries

Sri Lanka aims to boost its tourism efforts by giving away free visas to travelers from more than 30 countries.

The small island nation off southern India will offer the promotion starting May 1 to travelers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea, according to Lonely Planet and The Independent.

The average U.S. tourist stands to save between $20 and $40 in visa fees, Lonely Planet says.

The free-visa period initially will run for six months to help bolster tourism during the off-peak season – the Yala monsoon runs from May to August – but if successful, Sri Lanka may extend the free visas to tourists from other countries or make the arrangement permanent.

Sri Lanka saw 2.1 million tourists in 2017, according to the nation’s Tourism Development Authority. Tourism numbers have been on the upswing since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009.

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